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Mesothelioma News

MassDEP Issues $10000 Fines against Lawrence Contractor for Asbestos Violations

Pittsfield, MA – The state Environmental Protection Department (DEP) has issued a fine against a Lawrence firm for allegedly violating asbestos removal regulations at a Pittsfield property, located at Bartlett St, according to officials.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) cited MJ Environmental Incorporated for improper asbestos removal from an empty building situated at 149-153 Bartlett Street. The breaches were discovered at the time of an inspection conducted by the department officials in 2012 March.

Originally the company was assessed a fine of $24000. However, the MassDEP officials agreed to put aside $14000 on a condition that the company won’t commit any violations over the coming 2 years. According to a consent order, the company has to pay only $10000 in fines.

Michael Gorski, the director of W. Regional Office of the DEP in Springfield, said asbestos abatement contractors should be held responsible for the welfare of the public and protection of their health. The MassDEP will definitely take solid enforcement actions against contractors who violate asbestos regulations and fail to protect the health of workers as well as the general public, he said. According to Gorski, most of the asbestos contractors abide by the regulations.

Contractors or property owners with queries regarding asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), legal removal, managing, storage, packaging, transportation and disposal methods, or the existing asbestos rules can contact the concerned MassDEP regional offices for assistance. Details are also available at the website of MassDEP.

Asbestos is the generic term used for 6 different mineral formations occurring in the nature that have the common characteristic of the crystalline structure of being able to be separated into thin, long fibres. Asbestos is a toxic material and is a known carcinogen. The minerals that make up the material include chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, actinolite, anthophyllite, and tremolite. Asbestos fibres can become airborne when it is disturbed, damaged or broken. These fibres, which are not visible to the naked eye, can be breathed in very easily. Exposure to airborne fibres of asbestos could result in a number of dangerous conditions such as lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma, pleural plaques and asbestosis.

All sorts of asbestos are hazardous if breathed in. As someone inhales asbestos fibres, he/she may develop any of the above mentioned conditions. Asbestos-related diseases do not appear immediately after the exposure. Usually they take a few decades to start showing symptoms.